How to Write a Poem in MLA Format

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When you enter college for the first time, you will be expected to construct essays and papers using specific referencing styles. Common referencing styles are Chicago, APA and MLA, though these styles are only needed when you are referencing a work. Writing a poem therefore does not need a particular style attached to it. Of course, when you reference a poem, the MLA style will become necessary to use. You may choose to write a few parts or the entirety of a poem, as long as you adhere to the correct referencing style.


Step 1

Cite a poem title in text with quotation marks, but never underlined or italicized. For example: "Shakespeare's "Sonnet 22" show…"

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Step 2

Separate lines of poetry, when only quoting two or three, with a slash. For example "This is the first line/and this the second." You must also add the line numbers of the poem after the quotation, before the punctuation. So the following example would be used using the above quote: "This is the first line/and this the second" (1-2).

Step 3

Indent twice if quoting four or more lines of poetry. Do not enclose the lines of poetry in quotation marks. Include the line numbers at the end after the punctuation. In keeping with MLA style, double-space the poem.


Step 4

Reference the work in the bibliography, or "works cited" section, in the following format: Surname, Forename. "Poem title." Anthology Title. Ed. A.A. Editor. Publishing City: Publisher, Year of Publication. Line. Replace all sections as necessary. Italicize "Anthology Title." Replace "A.A. Editor" with the initials and surname of the book's editor. Replace "100" with the page number.




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